ELSIcon2022 • Plenary Session • June 1, 2022
Welcome and Introduction by Mildred Cho, PhD
Teresa Blankmeyer-Burke, PhD: Ableism, Audism, Ethics, and Genetics: A Just and Equitable Deaf Future?
How should a deaf bioethicist respond when the ethical questions about her genetics research pose an existential threat to the signing deaf community that she inhabits? The context of academic neutrality and professional detachment has historically shaped the norms of how one ought to approach one's research, yet for many scholars whose work focuses on health inequities and injustice, this approach is untenable if it requires that the scholar give up other aspects of their lives that they value. In this talk, Professor Teresa Blankmeyer Burke will outline the challenges of her positionality as a signing deaf bioethicist in negotiating institutionalized ableism and audism in bioethics.
Dr. Blankmeyer Burke begins with an overview of the current and potential threats that genetic technology poses to the continued existence of the signing deaf community. She follows this with a personal narrative that highlights key examples of institutionalized ableism and audism in various structures of the academy, and the impact of these on Deaf and disabled researchers, who must, before anything else, advocate for their right to be included via disability accommodations in medicalized settings, and the impact of this advocacy on their research agenda. In the final portion, she offers suggestions for changes that can be made to provide better support for Deaf and disabled researchers and scholars whose work focus is both professional and personal.